RIL threatens to pull out of exploration

RIL threatens to pull out of exploration

New Delhi: Reliance Industries has threatened to stop oil and gas exploration if it is not granted the promised drilling moratorium to cover for the acute shortage of rigs.

“The company made a presentation to the ministry seeking relief for not being able to meet its commitment for drilling wells on 14 blocks during 2006 and mid-2009 when there was an acute shortage of drilling rigs," a Petroleum Ministry official said.

Firms like Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and RIL have not been able to meet their work commitments for the blocks or areas they had won under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) rounds and an Empowered Committee of Secretaries has twice - the last being in January this year - cleared grant of a three-year drilling holiday or moratorium.

Despite being cleared by the ECS, the Petroleum Ministry has failed to move the Cabinet on the issue.

“They told us that they diverted their rigs on government’s request for expediting production of natural gas from Krishna Godavari basin D6 fields in national interest and so were unable to meet their entire drilling commitment on other blocks," he said.

RIL stated that if the promised drilling holiday till December 2010 was not given, it would pull out of the blocks, he said.

A company spokesperson declined to comment.